KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 – Malaysia’s men’s over 60s team dispatched Japan 5-1 for the gold medal in the final of the World Masters Hockey (WMH) Asian Championships 2023 at the Hong Kong Football Club on Sunday.

It was the second consecutive victory for the 60s team in the WMH Asian Championships following their effort in South Korea two years ago.

The 60s team had thrived from the start to take the lead through team captain Dato’ Seri Surinder Singh Dhaliwal in the 10th minute via a penalty corner conversion but Japan stormed back in seconds to restore the tie.

Hiroshi Yasukura sneaked the ball past goalkeeper Rohayudin Abdul Rashid from a goalmouth melee, which restored some level of confidence in the Japanese team.

But that was as far as the Japanese could go to halt the Malaysian juggernaut. The Surinder-led Malaysia team slowly built their attack through Inderjit Tara Singh and former Olympian Soon Mustafa Karim who scored a brace each that eventually led to Japan’s downfall.

Inderjit scored in the 12th and 15th minutes from a penalty corner conversion and field goal respectively while Soon Mustafa, who competed in the 1984 Los Angeles and 1992 Barcelona Olympics, converted a penalty stroke in the 45th minute and field goal three minutes later.

The Malaysians had in total 15 penalty corner opportunities and Japan had four throughout the match.

The celebration bells did not stop there. The men’s 40s side, struggling 1-5 by the 35th minute, overturned the tables on Hong Kong in an exciting final before defeating their opponents 7-6 for the gold medal.

The comeback kings and steely 40s team deserve all the accolades and bouquets for their gigantic effort which without doubt left their opponents wondering what had hit them in this 13-goal thriller match.

“It was an incredible performance from the 40s team. They played their hearts out for this marvellous victory. We were down 1-5 and the players stunned their opponents with good hockey,” said Dato’ Seri Surinder.

“There was so much of joy in our contingent when the 40s team came from behind to register this astonishing win. It was near impossible but they proved everyone wrong with their gutsy performance.”

In the final analysis, Malaysia won two gold medals and one silver in the Asian championships.

Forward and former national player Iman Gobinathan nailed a hat-trick, V. Vasandan scored a brace while Keevan Raj and Prabhu scored one goal each.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian men’s 50s team’s hopes of emulating their 40s and 60s team feats were dashed when they lost 0-1 in the final against Hong Kong and will return home with a silver medal.

Feroz Khan had laid the foundation for Hong Kong’s victory with a 48th-minute penalty corner conversion after fumbling a penalty stroke attempt in the second quarter.

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